Bahrain: budget deficit widens to $1.2 billion

Published July 10th, 2011 - 02:24 GMT

Bahrain's budget deficit widened to BD459.7 million ($1.2 billion) in 2010 from BD446 million in 2009 as lower oil prices took their toll, Finance Ministry data showed yesterday.

It is understood Bahrain needs oil prices of around $100 per barrel to balance its budget.

US benchmark crude prices floated between $65 and $115 per barrel last year.

As a per cent of GDP, the deficit narrowed slightly to around 5.6 percent, down from 6 percent in 2009, according to Reuters calculations.

Analysts expected a deficit of 0.7 percent of GDP in 2010 and 1.4 percent in 2011.

Revenue reached BD2.18bn, well above estimated BD1.46 billion, as income from crude and natural gas exports was nearly 65 percent higher than expected, the data showed.

Hydrocarbons accounted for 85 percent of budget revenue.

Expenditures reached BD2.64 billion, below budgeted BD3.07 billion, the data showed.

In May, parliament approved a 44 percent rise in government spending in 2011-2012 compared to the previous two-year period. Robust oil prices are seen alleviating some of the spending pressure this year.

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